(University of Louisville Release) TRUJILLO ALTO, Puerto Rico -- The University of Louisville men's basketball team wrapped up a week-long tour of seven games with a 77-72 victory over the Puerto Rico Junior Team at Ruben Zayas Montanez Coliseum on Saturday night.
Damion Lee led the Cardinals with 28 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Quentin Snider finished with 10 points and six assists while Mangok Mathiang finished with 10 points and five rebounds. Chinanu Onuaku finished with seven points, seven rebounds, four steals and three assists. Will Martinez led Puerto Rico with 19 points.
Pitino coached his Louisville team for the first time this week and the Cardinals got off to a good start, taking an 18-5 lead. Puerto Rico cut the lead to 23-18 at the end of the first quarter. As the game went on, the Cardinals had to fight through rather adverse conditions with wet spots popping up on the court, causing the players to slip during the game.
The Cardinals led by one at the half but came out strong in the third quarter behind the shooting of Lee. Puerto Rico hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to three with 5.9 seconds left. After a timeout the Cardinals scored to hold off the rally and win 77-72.
UofL Coach Rick Pitino coached the Cardinals for the first time this week. Pitino is coaching the Puerto Ricans in two international events this summer, including the 10-team, 2015 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City, Mexico on Aug. 31-Sept. 12, where the top two teams qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
"I think the biggest problem all week has been turnovers," said Pitino. "We've got to get our guys who are not used to playing fast to understand what they have to do fundamentally. Outside of that, statistically they did a much better job. We had 41 deflections tonight, and we hadn't come close to that in any of our other games.
"These trips sometimes are really a vacation when you can mentally bond together, but it's not physically rewarding to you for improving as a basketball team because the competition is not really good. We got a lot out of this bonding-wise and basketball-wise. I think we're very athletic, I think we're fast, we're eager to learn and we've got to get our interior people passing the ball better."
Pitino is coaching the Puerto Ricans in two international events this summer, including the 10-team, 2015 FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City, Mexico on Aug. 31-Sept. 12, where the top two teams qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Louisville finished the game shooting 54 percent from the field and 31 percent from behind the arc. The Cardinals outrebounded Puerto Rico 44-34 but finished with 26 turnovers.
After a day in the Puerto Rican sunshine on Sunday, the Cardinals head back to Louisville on Monday morning. The team will have a week off before classes for the fall semester begin on Aug. 24.